It could have been the regal Trajan
, an elegant Bodoni
, or neutral Helvetica
… but in the end, the three lines of text on the 20-ton cornerstone of the Freedom Tower
at the site of the World Trade Center
in New York were engraved by John Garafolo
, a new typeface named after the hometown of Batman.
The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower, erected at Ground Zero in 2004 and inscribed in Gotham
, whose design studio Pentagram
designed the granite block in collaboration with the architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
, explained that they chose Gotham “... because it didn’t look like something that was created yesterday and would be gone tomorrow.”
The black colossus, erected on Independence Day in 2004, was an important aesthetic signal, celebrated in the media as the first visible part of the Freedom Tower that was due to be inaugurated in 2011.
And in fact there could not have been a more suitable typeface. Tobias Frere-Jones
created Gotham in 2000 for the men’s magazine GQ, initially for an exclusive period of two years. His inspiration for the font came from signage on New York buildings dating from the 1930s to the 1950s, and the template was provided by an enormous bus station sign on 8th Avenue: PORT AUTHORITY BUS TERMINAL.
Which brings the font full circle, because the Trade Center plot is owned by the Port Authority of New York und New Jersey.